RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
A public Web site the Air Force launched this year is improving the efficiency of the service's legal system by providing clients with information that will educate them and online forms that will streamline their visits to their base legal offices.
The Web site, https://aflegalassistance.law.af.mil, designed for use by active-duty and reserve component members, retirees and dependents, is now up and running at Randolph.
"The new Web site doesn't change how we provide legal assistance," said Capt. Eric Hart, 902nd Mission Support Group Office of Staff Judge Advocate chief of legal assistance. "It makes for a more efficient use of time by our clients."
The site, which may be accessed from home without a common access card, includes summaries of a variety of legal topics such as wills and family law issues as well as links to other sites and worksheets for wills, living wills and powers of attorney.
After clients complete the worksheets, they receive "ticket numbers" generated by the site. Data in the worksheets is secure and may only be accessed after clients provide their ticket numbers to legal office personnel.
Captain Hart called the worksheets the Web site's "key elements."
"The responses to the questionnaires are used by the legal office to create your will, living will and/or powers of attorney," he said. "The ability to fill out the responses online enables clients to address the issues they need to think about when they have time to think and discuss it with their spouse or others."
However, the site does not create the legal document itself, Captain Hart said.
The site also allows clients to complete a survey so they can provide feedback on their visit to the legal office.
"Clients will be able to offer greater feedback on how well the legal assistance program is satisfying their needs so that we may continue to improve the process," said Lt. Col. Scott Ecton, 902nd MSG Staff Judge Advocate.
Captain Hart said the Web site covers a broad range of topics, and the information can be "empowering." One example he gave was the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which allows servicemembers who are deploying or have been assigned a permanent change of station to legally end the lease agreement at their residence.
But he also said clients should not rely solely on the site's information when they make decisions.
"The Web site cannot replace consultation with your local JAG," he said.
Colonel Ecton said the greatest advantage of the Air Force Legal Assistance Web site is that it "will improve our ability to provide timely and accurate legal advice and services to the Joint Base San Antonio community."